With March Break around the corner, you may be planning a family vacation or a series of fun and stimulating activities to keep your children entertained and occupied during their time off. From a child’s perspective, March Break is about one thing—time off to play!
Children are synonymous with the notion of play. Typical images that come to mind of young children playing include laughter, giggling and games—all of course evidenced by the inevitable mess that is usually left behind (at least from a parent’s point of view!). However, an external and cursory observation of small children engaged in play is deceptively lighthearted. Even from infancy, despite how much play appears to be effortless and joyful, engaging in play has a dramatic impact on a child’s cognitive, social and physical development.
Benefits of ‘social play’ versus ‘solo play’
Children engage in two types of play—play with other children or people, and play by themselves. Both types of play are equally important in nurturing different developmental areas within a child. Social play helps your child with:
- Social skills like getting along with others and how to read other people
- Cooperation and compromising so that everyone wins
- Sharing their toys, food and belongings
- Verbal and non-verbal communication by interacting with others
- Adherence to rules through games and sports
- Tolerance and flexibility for difference and change
- Social roles like mommy, daddy, teacher, babysitter, doctor
- Problem-solving skills as they resolve conflicts and disagreements with others
Solo play helps your child with:
- Imagination as they create the world as they would like to see in their mind
- Self reliance/Ability to amuse themselves which facilitates independence
- Creativity and extending intellectual boundaries
- Identity due to the absence of conformity pressures
- Self-awareness and the ability to reflect upon oneself a unique person
- Areas of interests as they discover what they are curious about and what fascinates them
- Musical aptitude since this is best uncovered through focussed appreciation
How to make the most of play as a family
Make some memories this March Break with your children – whether you go south as a family on a beach holiday; or stay in town and go to a museum, play board games and watch movies, the important thing is to spend time together. If they’re old enough, engage your children by asking them how they would like to spend their time off. Take photos of your March Break moments and tweet them to us at http://www.twitter.com/CSTConsultants.